A long time ago in a Gaelic Ireland far, far away, a holy man on a mission arrived. He came from the Empire, taken by the rebel scum at age 16 and forced to live in captivity on their filthy ships that couldn’t even enter light speed until he was finally able to make his daring escape and discover the Force. Out in the streets they call him … Padraig, and on this day the world honors the “Missionary,” the “Bishop,” the “Apostle of Ireland,” the orginal “baddest man on the planet:” St. Patrick. Welcome to Shamrock.
Blanketed under the powerful influence of the dark side, the conversion of ancient Ireland to Christianity proved to be St. Patrick’s ultimate goal. When the people didn’t understand what the heck he was talking about and he was on the verge of being roasted along with wild boar the bishop just flashed his million-euro smile and pulled out his trump card, the native three-leafed shamrock plant to teach the people the doctrine of the Trinity, and they understood.
He knew getting through to the people wouldn’t be easy. While most public speakers use watches or their iPhones to check the time, the bishop threw down his staff like a boss and measured his progress by how much it grew into the earth by the time his message got through. In the case of Aspatria the people were so hard-headed his staff actually took root and grew into a tree. The bishop knew all about patience.
While most people couldn’t go half a day without food sitting at their desktops in air-conditioned rooms the bishop did 40-day fasts while going on hikes worse than the Kalalau trail, and was so bad-ass when snakes attacked him on the mountains during one of his fasting days he chased every snake in Ireland to the sea until none were left.]
God has mercy, not the Bishop. Padraig don’t play. Even against Ireland’s most fiercest warriors of the Fianna such as Cailte mac Ronain (think Flash combined with Crocodile Dundee) and deadly poetic assassin Oisin, undying devotees to the old ways, the Bishop would spar in theological warfare until they got tired of arguing and settled for Guinness and holy water.
Colors of green, leprechauns, lucky charms, getting wasted … St. Patrick’s day is more than those frivolous yet fun things. The epic legends of the bishop may or may not have happened, but they certainly take root in the greatness of a man who dedicated his life to a better Ireland. Through undying devotion, unwavering diligence, a relentless work-ethic and simple piety St. Patrick changed a nation, and his great deeds, exaggerated or not, live on each year on March 17. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ‘Til the next episode…
Fili Leasau is a resident of Lihue.